Ben & Jerry’s urges voters to ‘give a fudge’ about London’s mayoral election

Ben & Jerry’s is launching a political campaign aimed at encouraging Londoners to “give a fudge” and drive voter registration for the mayoral election after research found that one in five are not correctly registered to vote.

The ‘Give a Fudge’ activity is part of Ben & Jerry’s ‘Don’t Get Frozen Out’ campaign to drive equal access to democracy across London and address the fact that at present one in five Londoners are not correctly registered to vote. For the campaign, the ice cream brand is teaming up with civil rights campaign group ‘Hope not hate’ to spread the message.

Throughout March and April, the Unilever-owned brand will be reaching out to those not on the electoral register and encouraging them to register to vote with a sampling tour of London locations, including colleges, dishing out free scoops of ‘Give a Fudge’.  According to the brand, the democratic process is failing to connect with young Londoners in particular.

The scooping tour will also be visiting the London boroughs most affected by voter registration changes implemented in December 2015, which according to the company led to 329,000 Londoners falling off the electoral register. The new legislation means people must now register to vote individually rather than one member of a household filling in a form.

Speaking about the campaign, Ed Shepherd, social mission manager at Ben & Jerry’s, says: “At Ben & Jerry’s we believe that democracy only works when it works for everyone. We need a democracy where all voices are heard, and we can all have a fair and equal say over the decisions that affect our capital.

“That’s why we’re teaming up with HOPE not hate to launch the ‘Don’t Get Frozen Out’ campaign, calling on all Londoners to register to vote and make sure their voice is counted in the May polls.”

READ MORE: Ben & Jerry’s European director on combatting climate change through ‘organic’ marketing

Ben & Jerry’s has a history of launching politicised campaigns. A company spokesperson told Marketing Week: “Ben & Jerry’s is an aspiring social justice company and, since the early days, the company has advocated a growing spectrum of social and environmental justice issues, based on the guiding principles of fairness and equality. They’ve stood up for numerous issues over the years, from Fairtrade to marriage equality.

“‘Give a Fudge’ is an impartial campaign. You won’t hear the company telling people how to use their vote, as Ben & Jerry’s believe that it is up to an individual to decide which set of policies most speak to them.”

It is also known for voicing concerns about climate change. Last summer, it teamed up with international organisation Avaaz to ask consumers to sign a petition calling on world leaders to “transition to 100% clean energy”.

European director Jochanan Senf told Marketing Week at the time that the brand is driving messages organically rather than through push marketing, which he believes is the best way to engage with modern consumers.

“You have to do it in an incredibly authentic way. You have to walk the talk and talk not only about the things that benefit you but also the things you still have to improve. If not, our fans or consumers will drill right through it,” he said.

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